15 Ways That Customer Testimonials Can Help to Grow Your Business

Introduction

When you run any marketing campaign, you do so to increase brand awareness and reputation and hence attract new leads to drive conversions. Customer testimonials are one of the most influential marketing tactics you can use to achieve these goals. There are several studies to support that as a form of “word of mouth (WOM)” marketing, testimonials carry a lot of weight. In one such study, AC Nielsen polled 30,000 consumers, 83% of whom “completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family” and 66% value opinions posted online. Another survey conducted on around 2100 respondents showed that 88% of consumers trust online reviews to “determine the quality of a local business”.

Why are Testimonials Good for Businesses?

Testimonials can grow your business in the following ways:

1. Improve Business Credibility

You shouldn’t take it for granted that customers will believe in your products just because you do or you tell them to. Despite your many reassurances, customers will have numerous doubts about your products or services such as:

  • I will only try this product if others are happy with it. Are there other businesses that recommend this brand?
  • I need to see proof that this will actually solve my problems. I’m I going to get my money’s worth?

2. Connect with Potential Customers at an Emotional Level

Besides helping you market your brand, testimonials also create an emotional connection with your audience. Emotions play a big role in making decisions. Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist, studied the brains of people with damage to parts of the brain that are responsible for generating emotions (the amygdala and pre-frontal cortex). While the subjects were capable of logical thought, such as describing what they wanted, they were incapable of arriving at decisions. This is because they couldn’t process emotions.

3. Use the Power of Storytelling to Grab Attention

Though it may not seem like it, every testimonial is a story about a buyer (the hero) who is on a quest to solve a problem and who finally finds a solution after turning to your business. Research shows that We are genetically programmed to think in terms of narratives. Brands that tap into this human trait pull people into a plot with their messaging and as such experience more success with their campaigns.

4. Build Client Loyalty

You have probably purchased and used a product or service that awed you beyond your expectations. You were probably so happy you wrote an email to the company, thanking them for such and such. They reached out, and asked, “Can we publish your generous words on our website?” What’s interesting is that you felt flattered and appreciated that they wanted to feature your message on their site! You felt connected to the brand.

5. Customers Practice their Referral “Pitch”

Think back to a time when you knew what you wanted to say, but just couldn’t put it to words. You were probably talking to your friends about a new gadget or application that you had bought. But when they asked you, “so what is so great about it?”, you realized that you didn’t have a good grasp of the reasons. Sure, the product impressed you, but you didn’t know how to express this.

6. Connecting through Natural Language

Corporate messages are usually carefully crafted, and with good reason: brands have to be perceived as neutral. While corporate messages are important tools for passing information and educating your audience, they fall short when it comes to forming real connections.

7. Opportunities to Improve (and Grow)

Not all feedback will be positive. But while it’s normal to dread negative reviews, you shouldn’t ignore or try to suppress them. By embracing negative reviews, you can:

  • Turn it to your advantage. Consider this response to a negative review:

8. Improving Staff Loyalty

Asking customers to compliment your staff is a great way to show your clients that

  • You acknowledge that your brand’s success is not only of your own doing, but a result of a concerted effort

9. Shareability

Besides being a great platform for social listening, social media is one of the best platforms to garner publicity for your brand. While you might be tempted to make your sales pitches on social media, testimonials are more shareable. Your fans will share your testimonials with their fans, who will then share with their fans, and on and on. It’s very effective word of mouth. What’s more, if you include your website url in your posts, you will get a lot of clicks, all without making a sales pitch.

10. Testimonials Surpass Analyst Reports in Importance

Third party analysts are some of the most revered authorities in the online space. Their opinion can influence how people view your brand. More so, because of their large following, getting third party analysts to review your product or service can give you a lot of publicity.

11. Influence Purchase Decisions

Customer testimonials shape buying decisions among b2b and b2c buyers. There is a lot of research to support this assertion, such as the examples below:

  • 88% of buyers have based their buying decision on an online review (Zendesk).
  • Businesses that have excellent testimonials experience 31% more spending from customers. (Invespcro)

12. Higher Click Through Rates (CTR)

In 2016, Brightlocal conducted a study on 6,283 consumers to find out how reviews affected click through ratings. They found that listings with 5-star ratings attracted higher clicks than 4- or 3-star ratings. Interestingly, a 1-star or 2-star rating attracted lesser clicks than listings with no rating.

13. Reviews Generate more Leads than Case Studies and most other Vendor Resources

Case studies are some of the most widely used content for B2B marketing. Yet a 2018 B2b Buyer disconnect report by Trust Radius rated customer reviews over case studies as a more authentic and unbiased source of information. The respondents found reviews to be personal, easier to read and consume, unbiased and capture real experiences. Testimonials capture the pros and cons of a product and validate or dispel a vendor’s claims.

14. Take Advantage of Video Marketing

Video testimonials are an effective way of boosting social proof. As far as content goes, video ranks higher up the food chain in terms of ease-of-consumption, entertainment value and boosting customer trust.

15. Show Up on Search Rankings

Earlier in the post, we mentioned that businesses with higher ratings attract higher number of clicks. for that to happen, you have to first show up on search rankings. When visitors perform a query, Google aggregates review ratings from reputable review sites and determines which businesses to return in search rankings.

Bottom Line

As you can see, the importance of customer testimonials cannot be understated, for b2b and b2c businesses of all sizes. Whether you are running a local store or a global brand, your customers will be inclined to trust the word of other consumers. As mentioned, even negative reviews can be turned into a positive, by boosting engagement and engaging in proactive problem solving. If possible, ask your reviewers to include a photo of themselves and personal details such as name, company, designation, etcetera. If you are overwhelmed by the whole process and don’t know where to start, you can reach out to an agency that provides lead generation services to view testimonial format examples that will help you collect relevant information such as:

  • The benefits to their business

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